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J Hypertens. 2008 Jan;26(1):44-52.

A long-term moderate magnesium-deficient diet aggravates cardiovascular risks associated with aging and increases mortality in rats.

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EA3921 Metabolic and cellular optimisation, Université de Franche-Comté, UFR Sciences Médicales et Pharmaceutiques, Besançon, France.



The present study aimed to show whether long-term moderate magnesium (Mg)-deficient (150 mg/kg) and Mg-supplemented (3200 mg/kg) diets (versus control diet: 800 mg/kg), modified the occurrence of cardiovascular risk induced by aging in the rat.


Cardiovascular and arterial functions were determined by a systemic hemodynamic study and by ex vivo measurements of vasoconstriction and endothelium dependent-vasorelaxation. Arterial wall structure was determined using pressure myograph chamber and histomorphometric methods.


The main changes observed in old rats (96 weeks old) fed a control diet, in comparison to adult rats (16 weeks old) were increased pulse pressure, a loss of aortic endothelium-dependent relaxation, increased aortic wall thickness and a decrease of the aortic wall elastin/collagen ratio. Long-term moderate Mg deficiency progressively increased systolic blood pressure. Intra-arterial pulse pressure was higher in Mg-deficient old rats than in age-matched control rats. Histological examination showed that Mg deficiency increased the age-induced deleterious effects on composition and structure of aorta (media thickness, increased collagen content and reduction in the elastin/collagen ratio), which lead to large artery rigidity. Hypertension and increased pulse pressure may have contributed to the increase in the mortality rate observed in the hypertensive Mg-deficient group. Although the long-term Mg-supplemented diet lowered blood pressure and decreased the mortality rate, it had no significant effect on aortic wall thickening and stiffening.


It is suggested that a long-term and moderate Mg-deficient diet increases age-induced arterial thickness and stiffness in rats, and thus increases the cardiovascular risks incurred by aging.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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